Toni Castells - A story
1970s/80s - Childhood
I was born in Berga (Spain) to a non musical and non artistic family. Listening to ABBA's Chiquitita as a 3 yr-old changed my life. It was the theme tune to a popular Spanish TV show at the time, and whenever it came on I was transfixed: I knew those sounds were my thing. Aged 4, officially too young to be accepted, I joined the local music school where I started learning this mysterious art.
1990s - Teens
Aged 13 I formed my first band with local friends, Herzia, in which I played the keyboards and occasionally sang (badly). We grew up together and stayed together for 10 years. We eventually got signed in 1998 by Spanish indie label AZ Records. We released our first and only album 'Coses que Passen' in 1999. Despite of the fact that it didn't cause much of a stir and went largely unnoticed, highly respected music magazine 'Popular 1' named it as one of the best releases of 1999.
1998 - Musiclan
Aged 18 I enrolled into La Salle University as a career in music wasn't an option for me at the time. After graduating with top grades in Telecommunications and Electronic Engineering 5 years later, I got a job as a tea boy at Musiclan, Spain's newly built and flavour of the month recording studios.
I was thrown in at the deep end from day one. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, intuitively I started recording most of my teen musical heroes now my clients, quickly learning how to make records and the invisible codes of music making and the recoding industry.
My attempts to balance an extremely intense studio schedule with being member of Herzia burned me out completely. In the summer of the year 2000 I hit rock bottom, I had lost all passion for what I was doing and I escaped to London in search of some breathing space and new horizons.
2000 - Jose Maria Cano
I arrived to a fresh and showery London in August 2000 and checked myself into a B&B in Earl's Court, sharing a small room with 4 others. Snoring sounds kept me awake at night but a combination of adrenaline and excitement kept me wide awake during the day. I combined searching for rare bootleg recordings with drinking pints and getting lost and meandering the city.
Serendipity soon placed Spanish pop legend José María Cano into my path. Member of 80s superband Mecano, he had established himself in London in the 90s and was looking for someone to help him complete his first solo album. It had to be me. I moved from my B&B to his townhouse in Holland Park where I exchanged my snoring partners for Schnabels, Warhols and Basquiats. It took us 6 months to complete JoseCano (Muxxic 2000).
I kept working for José María on other projects such as the Centenary Anthem for Real Madrid, sung by Plácido Domingo. He became a big influence and later a good friend, he opened the doors of London to me and also a rare opportinity to witness his genius at work.
2001 - Royal College of Music
By then I had lost my job back in Spain and my band had kicked me out...I had nothing to come back home for and, luckily again, in 2001 I manage to secure a dream job as Assistant Engineer at the recording studios at the Royal College of Music.
There I finally find a stable home. I stay at the RCM for 5 years, combining studio work with live recordings of the various RCM ensembles and opera productions. I meet and befriended the most incredible emerging talent and at the same time I had the opportunity to record classical superstars such as conductors Lorin Maazel and Sir Roger Norrington.
(2001-2007) - finding my voice
Live Performance Data
- Roxy Bar and Screen (London) - 12th June 2007 - free entry - audience 40+
- Bush Hall (London) - 23rd July 2007 - audience 95 - PR by Zest - see report on your right.
- Ginglik (London) - 14th May 2008 - audience 30+
- The Bedford (London) - 15th May 2008 - audience 40+
- The Cuckoo Club (London) - 10th Sept 2008 - audience 80+
- Roadtrip (London) - 11th Sept 2008 - audience 50+
- The Stables (Milton Keynes) - 12th Sept 2008 - Dawson Breed Music Promoter - audience 50+
- FNAC (Barcelona) - 19 Sept 2008 - promotional gig - audience 50+
- MMVV Festival (Barcelona) - 20 Sept 2008 - audience 200+
- Casino (Barcelona) - 25th April 2009 - audience 150+
- Formentera (Spain) - 23rd July 2009 - open air concert - audience 500+
- UNNIM Auditorium (Barcelona) - 17th Sept 2010 - audience 250+
Bush Hall | Zest PR | Performance review
(2010) - an interlude
(2011-2018) - a trilogy
PART 1: birth
Union Chapel Data
- 117 tickets sold
- 68 comps
- 185 audience
- Press coverage on the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, Times of India, Time Out, Islington Gazette and RT.com
- 24,525 views on YouTube (4th Nov 2017)
Kings place data
- 381 tickets sold
- 53 comps
- 434 audience
- Press coverage on London Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday, Metro, Music Week and Islington Gazette.
- 19,496 YouTube views (4th Nov 2017)
PART 2: DEATH
- 158 tickets sold in advance St James's
- 36 tickets sold at the door St James's
- 43 comps St James's
- 78 guests at Cowdray Park
- 315 audience
- Press coverage on BBC Radio 3, The Guardian, Tatler, Schmopera and Bonsall Peak Advertiser.
- 20,878 YouTube views (4th Nov 2017)
Part 3: (what happens in between) life.
Savior Programs (2017)
2045 was a very personal project, dealing with death in a way to help me overcome a moment in my life when death was overshadowing life. The process felt cathartic, very healing, and in a way it felt like shredding a skin. A part of me died with 2045 and a more stronger version of me emerged.
With this change came the need to find a new voice that followed that personal transformation. Savior Programs is part of this process and found a very unexpected voice with Persian and Middle Eastern influences, deep 808s and sharp cello based string arrangements.